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Estimating Consumption Deprivation in India using Survey Data: A State-Level Rural-Urban Analysis before and during Reform Period

  • T. Krishna Kumar
  • Sushanta Mallick
  • Jayarama Holla

This paper assesses deprivation in India employing a measure proposed by Sitaramam and using consumption data at the household level. As cereals constitute a staple food and form a major portion of expenditure on food, the deprivation measure considered here is deprivation in cereal consumption. The total expenditure at which the Engel curve for cereals turns from concave to convex is taken as the cut-off to determine the deprived households. It is shown that cereal deprivation at the all-India level exhibits a declining trend over the period 1987-88 and 1999-2000, in the rural sector, while there is little change in the urban sector. Further, this decline in cereal deprivation seems to have been slowing down during the reform period. The estimates of deprivation are poorly correlated with the HCI and PGI at state level, both in rural and urban sectors. They, however, have better temporal correlations with those poverty measures. We offer some explanation for these observed differences in alternate deprivation indices. The trends in cereal deprivation are accompanied in some cases by a decline, in real terms, in maximum cereal consumption of each group of consumers. Whether this is an improvement or otherwise of the living standards of the poor, must await further analysis of per capita food consumption in general, with an analysis of prices and quantities of various food items. It is hoped that this kind of study on deprivation of essential commodities may increase our understanding of poverty, and even suggest direct intervention strategies.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 7.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:7
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  1. Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
  2. Angus Deaton & Valerie Kozel, 2005. "Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 177-199.
  3. Subramanian, S. & Deaton, A., 1994. "The Demand for Food and Calories," Papers 175, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1997. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Papers 178, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Bhanoji Rao, V. V., 1981. "Measurement of deprivation and poverty based on the proportion spent on food: An exploratory exercise," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 337-353, April.
  7. Ingco, Merlinda D., 1991. "Is rice becoming an inferior good? Food demand in the Philippines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 722, The World Bank.
  8. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Macroeconomic crises and poverty monitoring : a case study for India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1685, The World Bank.
  9. Richard Palmer-Jones & Kunal Sen, 2003. "What has luck got to do with it? A regional analysis of poverty and agricultural growth in rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 1-31.
  10. B. S. Minhas & L. R. Jain & S. M. Kansal & M. R. Saluja, 1987. "On the Choice of Appropriate Consumer Price Indices and Data Sets for Estimating the Incidence of Poverty in India," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 19-49, January.
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